Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
McDonnell O.;Murphy P.
2018
January
Critical Discourse Studies
Mediating abortion politics in Ireland: media framing of the death of Savita Halappanavar
Published
0 ()
Optional Fields
abortion politics discourse Ireland media framing Savita Halappanavar
© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. On 28 October 2012, Savita Halappanavar, an Indian woman living in Ireland, died in hospital while under medical care for a miscarrying pregnancy. According to her husband, her repeated requests for an abortion were ignored because of the presence of a foetal heartbeat. Ms Halappanavar’s death was a critical event in the process leading to a referendum on 25 May 2018, when the Irish electorate voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, removing the constitutional ban on abortion. The name Savita has become indelibly linked to the changing course of abortion politics, so it is timely to reassess the role of the media in shaping the parameters of the debate about the impact of her death on the issue. This study presents a frame analysis of Irish newspapers in the weeks following her death, mapping the political, medical, legal and socio-ethical discourses, as well as the related contemporaneous events that set the agenda for the type of debate that was to follow. It identifies four media frames: Public Tragedy, Political Opportunity, Abortion Legacy and Maternal Health. Our central argument is that the overall effect of media framing provided much face-saving for politicians in the way that the legislative issue was viewed through a conservative party-political lens, despite public outrage.
1740-5904
10.1080/17405904.2018.1521858
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